A rare black jaguar, named Inka has arrived at Chester Zoo as part of special programme which is caring for the species across Europe.
The two-year-old female jaguar has moved from The Big Cat Sanctuary in Kent having been carefully selected as a fitting companion for Chester’s resident male jaguar, Napo.
Our carnivore experts say that Inka’s arrival will help to put a spotlight on the “remarkable” species. It will also support a European-wide programme that’s working to ensure a genetically healthy insurance population of jaguars within the continent’s major conservation zoos.
Jaguars, which are native to the Americas, are listed as ‘Near Threatened’ by the world’s leading authority on the state of nature, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Scientists believe they may become vulnerable to extinction in the near future.
“Inka is a strikingly beautiful, bold and confident young jaguar and she’s quickly taken to her new surroundings. The union between her and Napo, the resident male here at Chester Zoo, has been carefully orchestrated by our carnivore experts, The Big Cat Sanctuary and the coordinators of a programme that’s working in partnership to ensure a genetically viable population of jaguars across Europe. We hope the two of them will go on to form a strong and meaningful bond, and the early signs are positive.”
Dave Hall, our Team Manager of Carnivores at the zoo.
Dave continues to say:
“Like Napo, Inka is a wonderful ambassador for her species. Jaguars are remarkable animals and the two of them together will help us to raise more much-needed awareness of the survival challenges that they face in the wild, the work that’s already being done by zoos, our partners and the local conservationists and communities to protect the ecosystems that jaguars live in, and help us to inspire further action for their conservation.”
Conservationists say the jaguar is facing an uncertain future, with a number of threats including habitat loss, illegal hunting and conflict with humans causing numbers in the wild to decline.
Paul Bamford, our Regional Field Programmes Manager for the Americas says: “Deforestation and habitat fragmentation are reducing jaguar populations across their range. According to the IUCN, close to 70% of deforestation in Latin America is driven by industrial agriculture, primarily for soy, oil palm and cattle production.
“Many of these products are exported to countries such as the UK, and therefore, our shopping habits can have a significant impact on global biodiversity loss. In our role as consumers, we are unwittingly contributing to the destruction of nature on our planet.
“At Chester Zoo we are working to influence policy, both in the UK and internationally, to address this. We are supporting efforts to improve production standards and legislation so that deforestation is minimised, or eliminated for good, and wildlife can live safely alongside productive areas. The goal is to create a deforestation-free economy, in which countries are able to meet their development needs sustainably. If we can break the link between habitat loss and production, then we have the opportunity to secure a future for people and wildlife.”